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Detroit Tigers sign veteran pitcher Francisco Liriano to 1-year deal

Tigers sign lefty starter for $4 million

Francisco Liriano #46 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch in the third inning against the Boston Red Sox during game three of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 8, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Francisco Liriano #46 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch in the third inning against the Boston Red Sox during game three of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 8, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers have signed veteran starting pitcher Francisco Liriano to a one-year deal, the club announced Friday.

The Tigers will reportedly pay Liriano $4 million for the 2018 season, with an additional $1 million in incentives. Liriano will reportedly compete for a job in the starting rotation.

The 34-year-old lefty has started 274 games in MLB since debuting in 2005. He spent the better part of seven seasons with AL Central rival Minnesota before stops in Chicago (White Sox), Pittsburgh, Toronto and Houston.

He was primarily a starting pitcher for his entire career before joining the eventual World Series champion Astros midway through the 2017 season. He made 20 appearances for the Astros, all as a relief pitcher.

Liriano has 1,642 strikeouts in 1,610 career innings. He's struggled with walks, contributing to a 1.35 career WHIP.

After an excellent rookie season in 2006, in which Liriano struck out 144 batters in 121 innings and finished with a 1.00 WHIP, 2.16 ERA and 4.4 WAR, Liriano struggled for two years in Minnesota. He regained his footing in 2010 with a 201-strikeout campaign, finishing with a 4.0 WAR.

Since 2010, Liriano has struggled at every stop except Pittsburgh, where he played from 2013 to 2015 and had a three-year WAR of 7.3 while striking out 543 batters in 510 innings.

Last season, he walked 53 batters in 97 total innings, resulting in an inflated 1.63 WHIP. He graded out as a below-replacement-level player.

The rebuilding Tigers have question marks at the bottom of their starting rotation. Behind Michael Fulmer, Daniel Norris and Jordan Zimmermann, the other two spots were up for grabs entering the offseason.

General manager Al Avila has since added former Brewers and Astros righty Mike Fiers to the mix. Matthew Boyd will also compete for a starting spot, while Ryan Carpenter and Alex Wilson are getting starting experience in spring training.

It appears Liriano will get a chance to be in the rotation by Opening Day as the Tigers start a year of rebuilding.


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